So, What Is a Professional Gambler?
When you hear those two words together, you usually imagine someone like James Bond in his infamous suit, walking into the Casino Royale. However, real-life professional gamblers are quite different. Some might reach a certain level of fame and fortune, but most are just your average Joes making a living. What sets them apart is the unique skill set that they have developed, and their approach to gambling as a whole, to betting sites, casino (no matter if online or land-based).
We are used to thinking that luck determines the outcome of most gambles, but if you want to be pro, you have to find a way to mitigate its influence. In fact, some professional gamblers claim that ‘not following your gut instinct’ is the hardest part of the job, regardless if you’re playing at a land based casino or at some of the top online gambling sites for real cash. You have to give up on some of the things that actually make gambling… fun.
What Are the Best Games for Pro Gambling?
That’s easy to answer, actually. No luck game is suitable for a professional gambler and that’s a fact. You cannot make a career while pushing the button of an RNG slot machine or by oozing after the latest batch of Paddy Power promotion codes. Therefore, skill games are the logical answer. Being a professional gambler requires a lot of skills, calculations, research and practise.
Such people are dependant on their success on the field and getting a slice of the prize pools on the tournaments in which they compete. As an analogy, this can be compared to being a tennis player, so finding a sponsor can also go a long way in giving you enough free time for practice.
An alternative approach concentrates on actually running a profit from gambling. Most members of this school turn to sports betting and apply financial strategies in managing their ‘investments’. As а whole, this approach relies heavily on research and requires a lot of time and careful planning. It is often compared to running a business and managing your investment portfolio.
This way of thinking is very similar to that of Edward Thorp, the founding father of card counting. It is no surprise that after he developed his winning approach to blackjack, the Math professor then moved to the stock exchange and became very successful there too. Nowadays, professional gambling is often compared to playing with stocks and exchange rates and follows similar principles.
Being a Professional Gambler – How Is Gambling a Job?
This is probably the most frequent question that a pro gambler will face during his career. It’s a very weird line of work, especially when you have to share it with your grandma. However, in an age where playing computer games is fast becoming one of the best-paid jobs, thanks to eSports, being a professional gambler might start to seem less and less weird. Again, it has nothing in common with the leisurely lifestyle of rich high-rollers that you would see in the movies. Most professional gamblers actually spend 8 hours each day either practising their skills or doing their research.
The biggest difference to a regular job is in the work shifts, which can be at some ungodly hours. Online poker games, tournaments and overseas matches might mean that you have to put in a shift after midnight, usually during the weekend. If you are good at what you’re doing, you’ll pay the bills, and provide a good standard for your family.
A select few will find the winning formula that gets your name in the headlines – we’ve already told you about some of the richest gamblers in the world that bring huge credibility to this line of work. However, the realistic expectations should be the same as for any self-employed job – there will be ups and downs in the bumpy ride ahead, and a lot of effort will be necessary to go on top of all the hardships.
Are Professional Punters Cheats
Another common misconception rooted in the cinema world is that making a living out of gambling involves cheating the system in some way. Well, it isn’t untrue in all cases – 21 did give an accurate representation of the thin red line which card counters walk for instance. However, with casino security tightening more and more these days, most pro gamblers prefer to stick to the rules quite studiously. This is especially true in sports betting, where there is little room for illicit play unless you have access to inside information. These are other gambling outlets that don’t allow for cheating
- Online Slots
- Scratch Cards
- Jackpot Games
Most of the pros even consider themselves entrepreneurs rather than gamblers and adhere to strict risk-managing strategies. In some cases, this even becomes a family business. Those that manage to run a profit for a long time usually develop specific skills or know-how which they would not be willing to share outside of the family – thus, the trade is passed to the next generation.
The Personality and Life of a Professional Gambler
When you think about gambling, you would often associate it with ‘going with the flow’, and ‘trusting your gut’. However, most of the people who take betting as a full-time occupation take a completely opposing view. The personal traits that are most praised in this field are calmness, ability to handle pressure, good time-management and excellent analytical and research skills. All to all, taking control of your emotions is one of the most important factors.
Of course, pro gamblers are still human – they are just much more experienced and better in handling the natural urge to test their luck. Pro players might seem a little more bombastic during events, but if you meet a full-time gambler in real life, in most cases you will find a reserved, laid-back person. This does make them good friends to call upon in stressful situations.
How Many Pro Gamblers Are There?
Not a lot, actually. The thing is – most people turn to gambling as a hobby rather than a job. Relying on your luck is very exhilarating, and if you take that away, you kind of ruin the whole point of the thing. Furthermore, doing your financials right if you have no other income can be sort of a hassle – it does get easier the more experienced you get, but the initial hurdles simply make most aspiring pro gamblers give up. Gouging the exact number of those that have managed to stay afloat and turn gambling into a full-time occupation is a rather hard task.
They usually don’t seek too much attention, and as a result only the most successful ones get public recognition – and there aren’t that many of those. The English-speaking countries do tend to boast a significant number of people that consider themselves professional ‘punters’, but there are little statistics available worldwide. Overall, it tends to remain a strictly niche occupation, as most people prefer to use it as a secondary rather than primary source of income.
Great examples are the two icons in the world of gambling – Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. Negreanu is Canadian with Romanian origins and is considered one of the most famous and successful poker players in the world. Ivey has the same reputation and also has a masterclass which might teach you a lot. If, despite the similar fame of the two, you prefer the first, you can take a look at Negreanu’s masterclass as well.